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Thread: A good problem to have

  1. #1
    Legend fordfixer's Avatar
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    A good problem to have

    As unfortunate as a rather serious injury is during a pre-season game, sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise. Of course, you kind of have to be looking for silver linings, which is precisely what I'm doing here!

    With Charlie Batch going down to a broken collarbone, and rookie QB Dennis Dixon being far from ready to walk into the #2 QB role, the Steelers went shopping. Turns out there are two rather high-profile QBs looking for work, and the Steelers gave both a look. Ex-Jag, ex-Falcon Byron Leftwich got the call over ex-Viking, ex-Dolphin Duante Culpepper.

    The Steelers chose Leftwich, and according to published reports, he was their primary choice from the get-go, but contract concerns prompted them to bring in Culpepper for a look at the same time. So now the Steelers have 4 QBs on their roster, and this is what brings me to the point of this entry.

    Having 2 really top-quality back up QBs is a luxury that virtually no team can afford these days, given salary cap constraints, and QB egos. But the loss of Batch and the import of Leftwich leaves the Steelers in a rather interesting position. What should they do? Keeping Leftwich on the roster will save them a significant chunk of change because I think Batch's contract pays him close to $1 million a year, whereas Leftwich (if he makes the roster) will get $450K. There are a lot of reasons to give Byron a hard, hard look to make this team. First, he was a number 7 overall #1 draft pick of the Jags. There were always questions about his throwing motion, but never about his leadership nor his drive to win. When healthy, he was accurate and so strong-armed that receivers literally got pummeled by the fastballs he threw. I would guess that adapting to a #2 role is not something that Leftwich really wants to do, but at the same time he would get paid for simply being on the team.

    The question is, what to do with Charlie Batch? I don't think the Steelers would keep both Batch and Leftwich at the expense of Dennis Dixon. They drafted Dixon from Oregon for his blend of athletic ability, and his football smarts. I think that Steeler coaches are looking at Dixon as a project - how to utilize his athletic skills while honing his QB skills. He's far from being ready to actually play a #2 role for Pittsburgh, but having that kind of talent on the team is never a bad idea. Hell, maybe one day he could evolve into Slash #2...although I wouldn't exactly count on that. Anyway, back to Batch. Charlie has been the perfect backup QB for the Steelers. He works hard, knows the playbook, and honestly is perfectly suited for coming into the game on short notice or for a stop-gap game or two and performing quite well. He's smart with the ball, and confident enough to lead a good team to a win when called upon. He has a track record with the Steelers of doing a good to great job in the backup role. His injury is in a critical place - the kind of place that unless the doctors are very careful it could adversely impact his throwing motion.

    It is highly unlikely that Ben Roethlisberger will be supplanted by either Leftwich or Batch under ordinary circumstances - about as likely as Tom Brady or Peyton Manning losing their #1 starting role for their respective teams. So it's all about injury. Roethlisberger - due to his manner of play and willingness to stand tall in the face of a pass rush - has had some injuries. None major, none career threatening, but the kind that will keep him out of a game or two here and there. So having a solid #2 in Pittsburgh is a critical thing. Leftwich shares some attributes with Ben - size, strength, arm strength. Leftwich is far less mobile than Ben, and even less mobile than Batch (who by all accounts is not a very mobile QB). But the leadership and pedigree are there - more so with Leftwich than Batch.

    This is a very difficult decision for the Steelers - but a good one to have. If it comes down to a strictly financial decision, Leftwich will stay and Batch will go on the IR. If Leftwich doesn't pan out, the Steelers will keep him long enough to get Charlie healthy, then cut him. If Leftwich sets the world on fire in his backup role, then the Steelers have an even more difficult decision. But, as I said, it's a luxury. Many teams don't get the opportunity to choose between two such QBs for the #2 role.

    And on a final note...given the starting QBs that some teams are planning to start opening day...one wonders why Leftwich and Culpepper weren't already taken. But I suppose those teams have their plans in place and what not. I personally think the Steelers were rather fortunate to be able to sign Leftwich. The first time that Rex Grossman pukes up a game, don't you think Chicago faithful will wonder why the Bears didn't take a longer look at someone like Leftwich?

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the situation
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  2. #2
    Hall of Famer Flasteel's Avatar
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    Re: A good problem to have

    Very well thought out post FF, but this is my take on the situation, which I posted on the other board. Leftwich obviously wants to snag a starting job in 2009 and would most likely have zero interest in donning the Black-n-Gold after this season. It only becomes a great pick-up if he's forced into action (God forbid) and wins us some games. If you look at the big picture, we need to keep Batch around until we can find a longer-term solution at the number two spot. If Dixon is to be that guy, then we should be signing Batch to a two-year contract this off-season and hope that DD can win the back-up job going into his third year. Unless anyone could find a good reason to have four quarterbacks on the active roster (I can't), it seems to me that when Batch returns we probably need to waive goodbye to Byron, so we don't risk Dixon being snagged off the practice squad (or waivers). I would put Batch on the PUP list and then after week six we would have three weeks to evaluate him before making a decision. If you put him on IR that option is obviously taken away. If he comes back and looks sharp in practice you put him on the roster and cut Lefty. If he looks rusty or obviously inferior to Lefty, then stick him on IR and see how the offseason unfolds.



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  3. #3
    Legend fordfixer's Avatar
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    Re: A good problem to have

    Quote Originally Posted by Flasteel
    Very well thought out post FF, but this is my take on the situation, which I posted on the other board. Leftwich obviously wants to snag a starting job in 2009 and would most likely have zero interest in donning the Black-n-Gold after this season. It only becomes a great pick-up if he's forced into action (God forbid) and wins us some games. If you look at the big picture, we need to keep Batch around until we can find a longer-term solution at the number two spot. If Dixon is to be that guy, then we should be signing Batch to a two-year contract this off-season and hope that DD can win the back-up job going into his third year. Unless anyone could find a good reason to have four quarterbacks on the active roster (I can't), it seems to me that when Batch returns we probably need to waive goodbye to Byron, so we don't risk Dixon being snagged off the practice squad (or waivers). I would put Batch on the PUP list and then after week six we would have three weeks to evaluate him before making a decision. If you put him on IR that option is obviously taken away. If he comes back and looks sharp in practice you put him on the roster and cut Lefty. If he looks rusty or obviously inferior to Lefty, then stick him on IR and see how the offseason unfolds.
    Thanks but I didn't write it I found it on the net and posted it, even if I had thought it up I would never be able to type it all in one night I think I posted the web site where I found it if not I will fix that

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    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    Re: A good problem to have

    Can't we put Batch on the PUP list, keep Leftwich and Dixon and cut Potts? Or, put Batch on the IR for the year, let Leftwich showcase his talents (hopefully, not actually) and then let Leftwich go about his career next year and put Batch back on the roster.

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  5. #5
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    Re: A good problem to have

    Quote Originally Posted by papillon
    Can't we put Batch on the PUP list, keep Leftwich and Dixon and cut Potts? Or, put Batch on the IR for the year, let Leftwich showcase his talents (hopefully, not actually) and then let Leftwich go about his career next year and put Batch back on the roster.

    Pappy
    This sounds like the best choice going.

  6. #6
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    Re: A good problem to have

    Quote Originally Posted by BIG FAN
    Quote Originally Posted by papillon
    Can't we put Batch on the PUP list, keep Leftwich and Dixon and cut Potts? Or, put Batch on the IR for the year, let Leftwich showcase his talents (hopefully, not actually) and then let Leftwich go about his career next year and put Batch back on the roster.

    Pappy
    This sounds like the best choice going.
    I would agree with this but it doesn't seem the Steelers are inclined to put Batch on the IR. Tomlin said as much in his press conference. I totally agree that this is the best chance to save a roster spot and still be able to stay in the good graces of Charlie, and be able to hang onto Dixon.

    I believe the team may carry 4 qb's initially but I would rather they not.
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  7. #7
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    Re: A good problem to have

    While it's not completely out of the question about having four QB's, I just dont see it.
    This picture may get a lot clearer when we see what Byrons got left in him. I am starting to feel more like what SMG stated in another post, that Charlie's day as a Steeler are numbered.

  8. #8
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: A good problem to have

    A player is not allowed to be placed on the PUP list if they start training camp on the active roster.

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    Hall of Famer Flasteel's Avatar
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    Re: A good problem to have

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    A player is not allowed to be placed on the PUP list if they start training camp on the active roster.
    Link?

    Not that I don't trust your word Ruthless, I've just never seen that before and it doesn't make a lot of sense. If that's the case, then it's going to have to come down to placing Batch on IR (which apparently we won't do), keeping four quarterbacks on the active roster, or subjecting Dixon to waivers and the practice squad. Not exactly good options.



    "I hate him. Everybody says I'm supposed to be polite when I talk to you all, but I hate him..." "He talks too much, he doesn't make sense, he's fat, he's sloppy, he acts like he's the best thing since sliced bread. He's ugly, he stinks, his mouth stinks, his breath stinks, and basically his soul stinks, too.

    "Not too many people have personalities like that and survive in life. I don't know how he does it."


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  10. #10
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: A good problem to have

    Quote Originally Posted by Flasteel
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    A player is not allowed to be placed on the PUP list if they start training camp on the active roster.
    Link?

    Not that I don't trust your word Ruthless, I've just never seen that before and it doesn't make a lot of sense. If that's the case, then it's going to have to come down to placing Batch on IR (which apparently we won't do), keeping four quarterbacks on the active roster, or subjecting Dixon to waivers and the practice squad. Not exactly good options.
    It is mentioned on the wikipedia entry (I know, not the most reliable source in the world, but it is usually pretty accurate most of the time).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physica...ble_to_Perform

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